Listen to the recent interview with Lou on the Law & Liberty Podcast from Chalcedon.
FROM THE INTRODUCTION
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). These words from the Lord come at the end of a parable about a widow’s prayer for deliverance. They seem out of place, a cryptic remark disconnected from the subject at hand. But there it is and, when we look at the history of the Christian faith, we can see there is cause for concern. There certainly could have been no doubt on the Lord’s part as to the outcome but He doesn’t indulge in asking idle questions. There is a strong implication here that says: first, man bears responsibility for the maintenance of the faith; and, second, the presence or absence of faith on earth when He returns depends on man. As we shall see, Christ has given His people much more responsibility than most Christians would acknowledge today. Without denying God’s sovereign control over all things, we can say that Christianity has no life of its own; its continuance and survival depends on Christians who make it what it is.
A Word from the Publisher
The voluminous work of the late Dr. Rousas John Rushdoony, founder of Chalcedon Foundation, has remarkably influenced Biblical understanding in the twentieth-century Church. The Nordskogs have long supported this work. Therefore, we are pleased to publish this important new contribution to Biblical-worldview literature.
Faith on Earth? by Lou Poumakis crisply summarizes Dr. Rushdoony’s applied-Biblical faith in this readable and pithy overview. It begins with Christ’s question, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8). Faith is a big term. Faith means understanding that God is our great Father, Lord, and Redeemer. Everything in life belongs to Him. In this world of ultimate spiritual battle for the souls of men, everything matters for God’s glory and mankind’s good. Otherwise, all must count toward sinful death and destruction. No territory is neutral. Faith requires the constant, thorough seeking of God, of His purposes, and His ways. Faith defers to God in all things—including everything economic and everything relational, even the civil sphere and its politics. The whole Bible is God’s Law-Word, as all Scripture is inspired of God (2 Ti. 3:16).
For too long the Church has allowed a misguided and essentially Greek view to direct Christian life. In this view, known historically as Pietism, only so-called spiritual things are good. Material things are evil. The Gnostics went so far in this regard as to characterize Satan as the hero of the creation story. He thus attempted to stop the Creator from creating an evil material universe. The common Christian version of this gnosticism, upon a limited Biblical understanding, teaches that the mysterious spiritual realm is the only good, Satan owns this world, and thus any involvement in it, short of evangelizing, means soiling our spiritual selves. They believe salvation is essentially personal and irrelevant to the greater community. Often, a primary temporal goal of this faith is to find God in merely mystical experience. Such practice completely ignores the moral and ethical imperatives of the Gospel. Many varieties of this view have merged to become the mainstream Evangelical Movement. Added to it, Dispensationalism has provided a seeming rational excuse for allowing the world to go to ruin. In Dispensationalism, the world must become increasingly evil. As it reaches a crescendo of wickedness, Jesus will rapture His church from the world, and soon after will set up an external kingdom of Christ’s rule-of-iron over the remnant of the evil world.
On the face of it, the Pietistic and Dispensational view flies in the face of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Even Christ’s disciples at first expected such an external Kingdom. But no. Christ’s Kingdom expands from the heart of the individual outwards under the salt and light influence of believers. Thus, Jesus said the Kingdom comes without observation (Lk. 17:20). The Biblical view, the one the early American Pilgrims and Puritans held, says that Christ’s ministry will successfully fill the world with a mountain (world order) made without hands (Dan. 2:35, 44-45). Psalm 110 indicates that Christ rules at the right hand of the Father, reigning in the midst of His enemies, until they are made His footstool (Mt. 22:44; 1 Co. 15:25-26; Heb. 2:8). Clearly, Christ intends to rule over an earthly Kingdom, in anticipation of eternity, by expanding His benevolent influence through His people as they build the Kingdom. He rules by His Holy Spirit through the individual hearts of those who belong to Him.
In Faith on Earth?, Lou Poumakis presents a Biblical worldview designed to bring us out of selfish Christianity into the Kingdom-oriented faith of the Scriptures. Lou does an excellent job of stimulating our thinking of the world on Christ’s terms. The Church and the yet-to-be-evangelized world need this message. When He returns in glory, may Christ indeed declare, “Yes, the Son of man found faith on the earth!”
Praise for Faith On Earth?
Lou Poumakis’ Faith on Earth? is clear in its language, cogent in its presentation, and bold in its challenge to Christians to obey God’s laws. Here and there, it’s even rather startling. The reader will probably find himself asking, probably more than once, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Just before the resurrected Jesus left the earth He told his disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
These words have come to be known as the Great Commission, and Lou Poumakis thinks Christian believers as a whole have failed miserably to carry it out.
Poumakis tells us that his book is a recapitulation of and a brief for the activist program of social reform developed and articulated by Rousas J. Rushdoony known as Christian Reconstruction.
Poumakis points to humanism in its multifarious forms (including, mirabile dictu, Islam) as the principle world philosophy standing in opposition to a Christianized earth, but he asserts that the greatest threat to a completion of the Great Commission paradoxically lies within Christianity itself.
He sees the resurgence of pietism (saving souls while forgetting everything else) and the social gospel (saving society without reference to, much less dependence on, God’s laws) and End Times pessimism engendered by best-selling popular books as a self-fulfilling philosophy of defeatism, all of which works against the fulfillment of Christ’s marching orders to His followers.
Compromise with the world system was the besetting sin of the ancient Israelites, and in Poumakis’s view it’s the same today within Christendom.
The Bible assures us that God’s desires will be done on earth regardless of what we think or wish; all we can do in a practical sense is place our trust in Him and do what He told us to do.
Since no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return, it could be millennia before the Great Commission is completed; and that, says Poumakis, should give Christians enough time to “teach all nations . . . for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”
From the text:
“Christ defeated Satan at the cross, but it is His body, His people, who have been given the task of defeating Satan’s forces on earth.”
“Eventually we will see predominantly Christian societies governed by Christians and operating under God’s law.”
“The world is to be Christianized by man without God doing it for him. God did not do the work He assigned to Adam, and Christ will not do the work He assigned to Christians. It has not been completed these two thousand years—and may require thousands more—but one day it will be done; and it will be done by man.”
“No faith can dominate a culture without a law that represents that faith. All laws are religious in nature. The law of a nation is the religion of that nation applied to the civil life of that nation. One can see the faith of a people in the laws they enact.”
“The notion of Christian Reconstruction is that, because we have drifted so far away from God’s word, every institution of man needs to be reexamined from top to bottom using Biblical standards and then restructured as necessary along godly lines.”
“The Western world has never seen a fully consistent humanistic society and has never experienced its consequences. Soviet Russia was probably the closest . . .”
“Humanists have successfully employed the concept of religious pluralism as a ploy to effect a transition from Christianity to their form of faith.”
“That Christianity can continue to coexist through multiple generations in today’s heathen cultural environment is doubtful. It must either protect itself from the debilitating influences of the surrounding culture and come to dominate it or, failing to do so, in time be subdued by it.”
Luke 18:1-8 is not a prophesy about how things must be at Christ’s return. The passage is an encouragement to have that same kind of faith as did the persistent intercessor, the widow. As God is far more willing to answer our prayers than was the unjust judge, we have all the more hope. Mr. Poumakis challenges the current eschatologies of defeat with the promises of God.
The author is a retired electrical engineer who has served as an elder in the Christian Reformed Church and a minister in the Federation of Reformed Churches. As a serious student of the Bible, his thinking was changed through the books of R. J. Rushdoony and the Chalcedon Foundation. He embraced the truths of Postmillennialism and Christian Reconstruction. In this book Mr. Poumakis shows that the Bible teaches an eschatology of victory and also gives us the means by which victory is to be won.
His book is a clear presentation and defense of biblical truths to which most have given little thought. This book serves as a popular introduction that laymen can understand. Once the Christian who ‘knows all about eschatology’ from their Schofield’s famous reference Bible, gets the big ideas from this short book, they may be ready to look into the issue further. Then they too can be influenced by Rushdoony and Chalcedon.
Mr. Poumakis deals with various objections that have been raised, and points the way forward. God is sovereign. He has a plan for victory, and He has given us the Great Commission. Since God intends to use His people in fulfilling His plan, we have a responsibility. God blesses obedience to His law, but curses disobedience.
How is it that the early church, even under severe persecution, eventually saw Christianity become the dominant faith of the Roman Empire, East and West? The Christian faith also became dominant in America, South Africa, Australia and other countries. And why is it that although 75-80% of Americans list “Christian” as their religion, Christianity has so little influence in public affairs?
Lack of a good understanding of and commitment to the authority of Scripture led the modern church into theological drifting, to pluralism with its humanistic intolerant campaign for ‘tolerance’, and to a pessimistic outlook for the future of Christianity in the world. The result was withdrawal from the ‘world’ and ‘social issues’. “Onward Christian Soldiers” may still be enthusiastically sung, but an army that is told it cannot win, probably won’t win! But our enemies, such as humanism, will self destruct. The more consistent humanism becomes, the sooner it will collapse.
The focus of this book is not on our present circumstances, but on God’s promises and prophesies regarding the future. Here are some crucial elements set forth in the book.
- God is in control of whatever happens on earth. He is sovereign.
- God rewards obedience with blessings and disobedience with curses.
- Obedience is an outgrowth of saving faith. Saved by grace, we are being conformed to the image of Christ.
- Christ has given us the Great Commission and the means to accomplish it.
- We have a responsibility in this commission. Even Adam was given work to do.
- God has given us a comprehensive Law to be applied to every area of everyday life and society. Education, business, government, media, and culture should be shaped by the application of God’s Law.
It is imperative for us to recognize who God is, what He has promised, and what He wants us to do while on earth. What could happen if millions of Christians would regain the biblical hope and confidence for the future? What has God promised and prophesied about the future?
God’s promises for the future of an obedient, faithful, blessed people:
- But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. (Num 14:21 NKJ)
- He shall have dominion also from sea to sea. (Psa 72:8 NKJ)
- Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him. (Psa 72:11 NKJ)
- For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:9 NKJ)
- Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isa 45:22 NKJ)
- I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. (Isa 45:22-23 NKJ and quoted in Romans 14:11)
- And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:19-23 NKJ)
- Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. (1 Co 15:24-25 NKJ)
IF the prophets and apostles could have such a bright hope for the future, despite their dire circumstances– how can Christians today be so pessimistic, even thinking they are supposed to be pessimistic? Are God’s sovereignty, grace, promises, prophecies, and Law enough for us to have an eschatology of victory? This book, Faith on Earth?, answers with a resounding YES!
I commend it for your reading.